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Canada reveals roster for 2009 Hlinka tournament

by Adam Kimelman
With just a week before the start of the event, Canada has announced its roster for the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament.

Canada won the gold at the 2008 tournament, has earned gold four times in the past five years, and 11 times in the past 13 years.

An evaluation camp roster of 40 players was cut Wednesday to the final 22 that will play Aug. 11-16 in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

"Selecting these 22 players was a difficult task," said coach Bob Boughner. "It was a very competitive camp, and all 40 players performed well. However, we feel we have selected the best players to represent Canada in the Czech Republic and Slovakia."

All but one of the 22 members of the team is eligible for the 2010 Entry Draft.

Among the top names on the team is goaltender Calvin Pickard, the younger brother of Nashville Predators prospect Chet Pickard. As a Western Hockey League rookie last season with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Pickard finished fourth among first-year goalies with a 3.05 goals-against average. He was just as good starting for the injured Jacob DeSerres in the playoffs, posting a 3.03 GAA in five games.

Anchoring the defense is Erik Gudbranson, a highly regarded defenseman from the Ontario Hockey League's Kingston Frontenacs. The 6-foot-3, 184-pound blueliner served as captain in Kingston last season as a 16-year-old, and had 4 points and a plus-5 rating at last spring's World Under-18 Championship.

Joining Gudbranson on defense is Brandon Gormley from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats. Gormley had 27 points in 62 games in his first last season and earned a spot on the QMJHL All-Rookie Team.

Prince George Cougars left wing Brett Connolly and Sudbury Wolves center John McFarland will lead the offense.

Connolly was named WHL and Canadian Hockey League rookie of the year after scoring 30 goals and 60 points last season, and he had 3 goals and 6 points for Canada at the World U-18 Championship last spring.

McFarland, the first pick of the 2008 OHL draft, finished in the top 10 among OHL rookies with 21 goals and 52 points. At World U-18s, he was second on the team with 8 points and first with a plus-7 rating.

Sean Couturier, a forward with Drummondville of the QMJHL, is the only 2011 draft-eligible player to make the squad.

Jaden Schwartz, a center with the Notre Dame Hounds, is the only player chosen who doesn't play with any of the three Canadian Hockey Leagues. Schwartz, a 5-9, 175-pounder, last season was third in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League with 34 goals and fifth with 76 points.

Taylor Hall, a projected top pick for the 2010 Draft, was not eligible for this year's tournament, which is restricted to 1992-born players. Hall, who was born Nov. 14, 1991, tied for the team lead at last year's event with 4 assists and 6 points. He is the only 2010 draft-eligible player invited to Hockey Canada's junior evaluation camp, which will determine the roster for the 2010 World Junior Championship.

Canada will open the Hlinka tournament Aug. 11 against Sweden. Joining those teams in Group A are the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Group B will consist of Finland, Russia, Slovakia and the U.S.

Contact Adam Kimelman at

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